Saturday, May 03, 2008

Budget fight update

Mayor Fenty is claiming that, if he is forced to fork over the $18 million that the DC Council believes it is owed from a previously agreed maintenance fund transfer, DCPS art and after-school programs will suffer.
Gray's staff members estimated that the mayor's plan to dip into modernization funds -- a pool of money that Fenty (D) proposed when he was a council member and mayoral candidate in 2006 -- could lead to a $204 million deficit over six years and "is tantamount to 11 schools that would no longer be funded for modernization," a council report noted.

"We've made promises to parents. We've made promises to kids to create these first-class facilities," Gray said in an interview.

Fenty said in a statement that the cuts "will have a direct impact on our ability to bring art, literacy and after-school programs to every youth" attending D.C. public schools, he said. "My administration will be meeting with the Chairman and other Councilmembers to further discuss funding these programs that are critical to providing an excellent education to all of our students."

Council members did not learn that programs were at risk until after they had voted to accept Gray's recommendations. It was emblematic, some said, of the flaws in the process: too little information from the administration.

When the first markup ended, council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) said she was wary of supporting Gray's proposal because she did not know which programs would have to go.

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